"Broken Trail," AMC's first original movie, premiered to record-high ratings for the network and became the second-most-watched original movie on basic cable since 1995. Due in 2007 is an original series, "Mad Men," from "Sopranos" writer Matthew Weiner, as well as a co-production deal recently signed with the BBC for the dramatic series "Hustle."
Before Mr. Collier officially takes the reigns next Monday, MediaWorks had a quick chat with him and his new boss, Ed Carroll, president of Rainbow Entertainment Services.
MediaWorks: Tell us about the new gig.
Ed Carroll: We all know Charlie's experience at serving clients' constituencies, developing unique ways to reach clients and consumers. I was impressed about the vision he laid out for the AMC brand. ... AMC has benefited in the past few years from increased ratings for a successful initiation into original programming. ... I anticipate [Mr. Collier] being more hands-on as he gets more familiar with the terrain.
Mr. Collier: We want to expand the brand beyond what it means today, making sure it's clear what the brand is. We need to be speaking clearly about who we are. ... We've had a successful foray into original programming. Now people need to know it's there.
MediaWorks: And what does the brand mean?
Mr. Collier: The programming all has a cinematic quality to it -- "Broken Trail," what you've heard about "Mad Men," "Hustle." You turn it on, and it's well-produced, well-sought-out TV. And that includes the movies as well.
Mr. Carroll: We've been honing in on what kind of original feels right with the AMC brand -- if it's of a defined time or place, has big-name talent, movielike production values or are in movie genres our audiences love such as westerns, horror, period dramas or war. There's no one acid test, but when you read a script or see a pilot, you take that all into consideration.
MediaWorks: How do you intend to further differentiate yourself from some of the other cable networks that tend to be heavy on movies, such as Turner Classic Movies and TBS?
Mr. Carroll: Over the past few months and years, other basic-cable networks have gone in different directions. TBS is more about sitcoms, TNT is about dramas, FX has had a good amount of success with its original series. AMC is the only reliable movie home on basic cable. ... The size and diversity of our library is already a differentiating factor. And Charlie will be able to help us own in other platforms as well.
MediaWorks: Charlie, you were known in the industry for bringing ROI front and center in your negotiations with agencies, even doing a few engagement-based upfront deals. Will you be doing similar research and initiatives at AMC?
Mr. Collier: I think value is the word. ... Engagement was born out of need for our advertisers to get deeper into what they're buying. Really, what I did was listen to what they wanted and found a way to serve that need. I'm going to be doing the same here with all our constituents -- consumers, affiliates, advertisers. The days of having those in silos is over. I get to be a business manager and brand ambassador and make sure those are working together.
MediaWorks: So, maybe?
Mr. Collier: The beauty is it wasn't just about Court TV. MTV did their own engagement research, AMC talked about the value of its audience. Here's my CPM, my bundle of spots, goodbye. It furthered the dialogue on how to look at not just who's watching but how they're watching.
MediaWorks: Now that you're at a movie channel, we have to ask -- what's your favorite flick?
Mr. Collier: I'm going to be totally guy with this one. It's "Caddyshack" and "The Godfather."